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Muscle Lab Pasadena
2381 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena CA (626) 765-6222

What is Cryotherapy? An Overview

Being exposed to freezing cold temperatures is something that most people dread and try to avoid, but many are actually exposing themselves to such conditions – and not just freezing, but subzero, downright frigid temperatures! In fact, it’s become a trend in the health and wellness world, and that trend is known as “cryotherapy”. 

If you’ve thumbed through the pages of a fitness magazine, scrolled through your social media, or follow wellness blogs, there’s no doubt you’ve found articles and posts that contain the words “cryo spa”, “cryptherapy”, “whole body cryotherapy”, or similar content that focuses on cryotherapy. But what is cryotherapy? What does it do? Is it beneficial? To find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading. 

What is cryotherapy? 

Cryotherapy literally translates to “cold therapy”, and is a term that can be used to describe any treatment that involves the application or use of cold temperatures to promote healing; most commonly to ease muscle stiffness, as well as aches and pains. If you’ve ever applied an ice pack to a twisted ankle or sat in a tub of cold water, you’ve practiced cryotherapy and you probably didn’t even know it. It’s also used in conventional medicine as cryosurgery, which involves using liquid nitrogen to the skin to remove unwanted growths, such as warts or skin tags.

The articles, headlines, and posts that you may have seen probably aren’t referring to cryosurgery or applying ice packs to the skin, however; it’s more likely that they’re referencing whole body cryotherapy. 

What is whole body cryotherapy? 

As the name describes, whole body cryotherapy involves exposing the entire body – with the exception of the head – to subzero temperatures. With this treatment, a cryo spa or cryo sauna is used. Essentially, this spa or sauna is a metal vessel that features a door on the front and a hole on the top. You’d open the door, walk into the vessel, and place your head through the hole, and close the door. 

Prior to starting a cryotherapy session, you would put on gloves and booties, and undress into your underwear, a bathing suit, or a loose pair of shorts and a T-shirt. The gloves and booties protect your extremities from frostbite, as the temperatures within the vessel get downright cold; in fact, they can go as low as -200 degrees F. You’d remain in the vessel for a few minutes – usually no longer than 5, though you can exit whenever you’d like to. You may be asked to step into a space that is cooler than room temperature in order to acclimate your body to the cold to avoid shocking your system. 

How does whole body cryotherapy work?  

When your body is exposed to subzero temperatures, adrenaline hormones are released, which sends you into the natural fight-or-flight response. This causes the heart to pump faster which, of course, increases the amount of blood that is pumped out into your body; particularly your core and the vital organs that it contains. This increase of blood flow enters the muscles, which helps to foster tissue repair. 

In other words, cryotherapy encourages the body to heal itself at a faster rate. It also pumps blood into the capillaries throughout your body that may have been damaged as a result of overuse. 

What are the benefits of cryotherapy? 

The specific benefits of whole body cryotherapy are not yet known. Several studies have been and are being conducted, and the results are not yet conclusive; however, with that said, anecdotal evidence does suggest that cryotherapy may be able to offer the following benefits: 

  • Pain relief and muscle repair. Cryo may be able to reduce muscle pain, as well as joint and muscle disorders, like arthritis. It is also believed that cryotherapy can help to promote faster healing, and muscle pain relief. 
  • Reduced inflammation. Inflammation is one of the ways in which the immune system fights off infections. It can become over-active, which can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to a number of health issues, like diabetes, cancer, depression, arthritis, and dementia. Reducing inflammation, therefore, can help to improve your overall health and well-being, as it may be able to reduce the incidence of a number of chronic conditions. 

  • Reduced anxiety and depression. Several studies have found that cryotherapy may be able to minimize inflammation that could lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. 
  • Improved mood. When you’re less anxious and depressed, and when you just feel better, your mood naturally improves. Countless people say that they notice a marked improvement in the way that they feel and with their perspective on life. 
  • Migraine reduction. Cryotherapy may also be able to alleviate or prevent the incidence of migraine headaches. 
  • Weight loss support. Whole body cryotherapy may also be able to help to promote weight loss. According to research studies, exposure to subzero temperatures can help to boost your metabolism, as the cold can increase your metabolic rate as it returns to normal body temperature. When exposed to extreme cold, brown adipose tissue (BAT) burns fat in order to generate energy for your body. In one study, it was found that regular exposure to cold temperatures over a 6-week period of time helped to lower body fat by 2 percent. 
  • Strengthened immune system. The increase of blood flow that occurs within the body when you’re exposed to cold temperatures can be beneficial for your immune system, as it can support the body’s natural detoxification process. A study indicated that regular exposure to col temperature boosted the rate of monocytes and lymphocytes, two types of white blood cells that play a vital part in your immune system, as they help to combat foreign invaders. 

Looking for “Cryotherapy Near Me”? 

If the above-mentioned benefits have piqued your interests and you’re thinking about exploring them, we highly recommend making an appointment at a spa that offers cryotherapy in Los Angeles. We’ll be more than happy to answer all of your questions so that you can determine if cryo is the right option for you.